Political Equilibrium: A Delicate Balance - , Preview:
Peter C. Ordeshook and Kenneth A. Shepsle If the inaugural date of modern economics is set at 1776 with the publication of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, then the analytical tradition in the study of politics is not even a decade younger, commencing nine years later with the publication of the Marquis de Condorcet's Essai sur l'application de l'analyse iz la probabilite des decisions rendues iz la pluralite des voix. The parallel, however, stops there for, unlike Smith and other classical economists who laid an intel lectual foundation upon which a century of cumulative scientific research pro ceeded, analytical political science suffered fits and starts. Condorcet, himself, acknowledges the earlier work (predating the Essai by some fourteen years) of Borda and, from time to time during the nineteenth century, their contributions were rediscovered by Dodgson, Nanson, and other political philosophers and arithmeticians. But, by century's end, there was nothing in political science to compare to the grand edifice of general equilibrium theory in neoclassical eco nomics. Despite roots traversing two centuries, then, the analytical study of poli tics is a twentieth-century affair. The initial inspiration and insight of Condorcet was seized upon just after World War II by Duncan Black, who wrote several papers on the equilibrium properties of majority rule in specific contexts (Black, 1948a, b). He expanded upon these themes in his now deservedly famous monograph, The Theory of xi PREFACE xii Committees and Elections, and the lesser-known essay with R.A..